Thinking About a Career Change? Here’s The Secret To Knowing If You Are Ready

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Earlier this year I attended a workshop hosted by Career and Personal Branding Consultant Joseph Liu.

The presentation focused on helping participants realize what it takes to truly align your ambitions and personal values with your work to achieve happiness and fulfillment. The theme of the session was “career reinvention” and it delivered a realistic picture of what it takes to reach that goal. The session’s highlight was undoubtedly Liu’s walk-through of his patented “7 Stages of Career Change Roadmap.”

After coaching and speaking with hundreds of professionals navigating career change, Liu began to recognize certain patterns emerging among those who had successfully reinvented their careers. For those seeking reinvention, the roadmap provides clarity when sorting out the confusing emotions associated with unfulfillment and longing for change. Coincidentally, it also bears a striking resemblance to Kübler-Ross’ five stages of grief. I’ve summarized it below:

  • (0) Status Quo – Individuals at this stage enjoy their jobs just enough. Their gigs don’t inspire true happiness, but it pays the bills and is tolerable.
  •  (1) Doubt – At this stage, lingering doubt begins. You often find yourself sitting in meetings and zoning out. You begin to wonder if this job is right for you. You conclude that you don’t actually like your job.
  • (2) Dismay – Here is where doubt leads to dismay. You realize you don’t enjoy your career at all — even if you were to switch to another position within your organization or perform the same role at another company.
  • (3) Mitigation – According to Liu, this is where people tend to get stuck. They tell themselves, “I am going to try and fix this,” because mustering the strength to enact true change in their lives is not easy. Another way this might manifest is by trying to do what you love on nights and on weekends. (Also, LOL.) This strategy rarely leads to success because you can only fool yourself for so long.
  • (4) Exhaustion – At this stage, you feel stuck. You have run out of energy trying to make your mitigation plan work. Most of your weekend is spent recuperating from the week prior. You are not living your best life.
  • (5) Departure – The exhaustion gets so bad, you finally leave your job. You resign, even if another job isn’t lined up. You take a break. You need time for yourself to get away from it all.
  • (6) Reflection – You have left your job. You take some time off or take a lower intensity gig. The reason being, you need some time and space to think about what your next step is. This time is important because it gives you the clarity to figure out what your next move is.
  • (7) Relaunch – This is your moment. As Liu says, this is where you say, “I’m going to give this thing a shot.” You’re determined to make a change and fully realize you owe it to yourself.

Mind-blowing stuff, right? I’m sure many folks reading this can pinpoint exactly where they currently fall on the roadmap in about two seconds flat.

Identifying where you are on the roadmap is only the beginning. According to Liu, the next step is to make a move in the direction you know you want to take your career. It could be taking a class, attending a networking event or talking with someone who works in an industry that interests you. And, taking even the smallest step is better than standing completely still.

So, what do you think? Where do you fall on the roadmap?

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